• MDOP DaRT: Reset forgotten Windows Account Passwords

    We have users who use Windows as our primary operating system and most of them are using Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and now lot of users have shifted to Windows 7 Beta. Often when users install Windows, generally they setup a local user (administrator) and then they configure the domain account. After configuring the domain account users usually never login onto our Local User Account. Sometimes user needs to login onto the Local user account for different reasons. For e.g. Domain account password expired and users needs to logon onto computer for accessing data or sending mails, browsing internet. It happens many of the times that because users have not used the local account users tend to forget local user account password. In that case many users reformat the machine.

    But ideally spending time on reformatting the machine may not be a good option. So, how do we reset the password of the locked account? We have a solution for this problem. The solution is using DaRT. DaRT stands for Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit.

    Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset is a core component of the Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance, a suite of advanced technologies designed to improve desktop manageability and security and decrease total cost of ownership (TCO).


    Step 1: Obtain the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset 6.0 and create the recovery cd using ERD Commander Boot Wizard based upon WinPE or obtain the CD from the Local IT.

    Step 2: Boot the target machine using the DaRT Recovery CD


    Select No for NetStart, we don’t require the network connectivity.

    Step 3: Select the appropriate language. Default is US and click on Next


    Step 4: Select the Operating System. If you have more than 2 Operating Systems, it will show 2 operating systems and Click on Next


    Step 5: Once loaded you will see it’s like Windows Vista Bootable DVD Repair tools but with 1 more additional option ‘Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset’; click on it.


    Step 6: You will see following tools in DaRT. Click on Locksmith


    Step 7: This will launch Locksmith wizard. Click on Next


    Step 8: This will show ‘Select New Password’ window. Select the account you want to reset the password. And provide the new password. After that click on Next


    Step 9: You will get dialog box ‘Completing the Locksmith Wizard’ On next restart you will have an option to Change the local user account password after you log in.

    Click on Finish. Click on Close and Restart


    Step 10: Take out the DaRT CD and restart the machine.


    Enter the recently changed password for the local user. Then you will get the above message stating ‘The user’s password must be changed before logging on the first time’

    Click OK and type in the new password



    Voila, you have just changed the password for the local account. Now you can login with the newly created password.

  • Windows Server 2008 R2: Offline Domain Join Step-by-Step Guide

    Offline domain join scenario overview windows-server-2008-r2

    Offline domain join is a new process that computers that run Windows® 7 or Windows Server® 2008 R2 can use to join a domain without contacting a domain controller. This makes it possible to join computers to a domain in locations where there is no connectivity to a corporate network.

    For example, an organization might need to deploy many virtual machines in a datacenter. Offline domain join makes it possible for the virtual machines to be joined to the domain when they initially start after the installation of the operating system. No additional restart is required to complete the domain join. This can significantly reduce the overall time required for wide-scale virtual machine deployments.

    A domain join establishes a trust relationship between a computer running a Windows operating system and an Active Directory® domain. This operation requires state changes to Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and state changes on the computer that is joining the domain. To complete a domain join in the past using previous Windows® operating systems, the computer that joined the domain had to be running and it had to have network connectivity to contact a domain controller. Offline domain join provides the following advantages over the previous requirements:

    • The Active Directory state changes are completed without any network traffic to the computer.
    • The computer state changes are completed without any network traffic to a domain controller.
    • Each set of changes can be completed at a different time.

    The following sections explain some of the benefits that offline domain join can provide.

    Reduced total cost of ownership in datacenters:
    Offline domain join can reduce the total cost of ownership for computers by reducing the startup time that is required for each server and by increasing the reliability of domain join operations in production environments.

    Improved experience for performing domain joins using an RODC:
    In Windows Server 2008, there is a mechanism to perform domain join operations against a read-only domain controller (RODC). 

    Rapid enterprise deployments:
    By using deployment tools, such as Windows System Image Manager, you can perform an unattended domain join during an operating system installation by providing information that is relevant to the domain join in an Unattend.xml file.

    Requirements for offline domaoin join:
    To perform an offline domain join, you run commands by using a new tool named Djoin.exe. You use Djoin.exe to provision computer account data into AD DS

    Operating system requirements - Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7
    By default, the Djoin.exe commands target a domain controller that runs Windows Server 2008 R2. However, you can specify an optional /downlevel parameter if you want to target a domain controller that is running a version of Windows Server that is earlier than Windows Server 2008 R2.

    Credential requirements:
    To perform an offline domain join, you must have the rights that are necessary to join workstations to the domain. Members of the Domain Admins group have the rights to join workstations to the domain by default.

    Granting rights:
    You can use the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) to modify the domain policy or create a new policy that has settings that grant the user rights to add workstations to a domain.

    For more information download the step-by-step guide from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd392267.aspx

  • Dual Boot: Windows 7 with existing Windows Vista

    Most of our users are using Windows Vista as the primary operating system and a lot many of them now looking forward to upgrade to WIN7 Beta. The Windows Vista image loaded on the laptop often creates only a single big partition that has all the Windows files/folders and users data. Now, if a user wants to install Windows 7 Beta, he / she have to install using the upgrade method.

    There may be scenarios wherein, users may like to retain existing Vista OS, for testing / application compatibility reasons, in this case users can follow the below steps to have dual boot options without disturbing their older operating system (say vista), just by creating a new partition and then install Windows 7 onto that partition. By doing so, users can have Windows Vista on the first partition and can have Windows 7 onto the second partition.

    Steps to Follow:

    Step 1: Start Windows Explorer. Right click My Computer and click Manage or click Start -> Run -> compmgmt.msc


    This will start Computer Management MMC Snap in.

    Step 2: In this screenshot you can see there is Disk 0 with capacity 149.05 GB

    There are two partitions

    First Partition – BitLocker Created system partition 1.46 GB

    Second Partition – Windows Vista of size 147.59 GB

    So, in order to install Windows 7 we need to have another partition. We will now create a new partition on which we can install Windows 7.

    Note: In some cases you may not find the first partition i.e. BitLocker Created system partition. This is created when you have deployed the MS IT BitLocker Supported Image or users have run the BitLocker Preparation Toolkit on their machine.


    Step 3: Right click on the C: Drive i.e. 147.59 GB and click on Shrink Volume


    Step 4: Select the amount of space to shrink in MB, below by default selected approximately 74.5 GB. Users can select more or less size depending upon their needs, Click Shrink. This will create new partition with unallocated space


    Step 5: Right Click on the unallocated partition and click on New Simple Volume.

    This will launch New Simple Volume Wizard. Click Next.


    Step 6: Specify Size. We will keep it 30000 MB (30 GB). Click Next.

    • In the assign drive letter option select D or E (depending upon the free letter, G in this case)
    • Click on Next
    • In the Format Partition Select Volume Label and select Perform a quick format option.

    If users need, they can change the default Allocation Unit Size or Enable file and folder compression.


    Lastly, after the wizard is completed, it will show a brief summary of the options selected. Click on Finish, this will create the new Primary Partition of 30 GB with the selected Label and Drive letter.


    Step 7: Now, pop in your Windows 7 DVD and boot the computer from DVD. At the time of installation select ‘Custom Installation.’ Select the newly created partition to install Windows 7.

    Ignore the remaining unallocated space that we did not utilize. Click on Next


    After the installation you will see Windows 7 as default OS and also the Windows Vista entry in the Windows Boot Manager.


    Enjoy Windows 7 dual boot with existing Windows Vista

  • Windows Server 2008 R2: Active Directory Recycle Bin Step-by-Step Guide

    This guide provides step-by-step instructions and background information for enabling and using the AcWindows Server Active Directory v black logotive Directory® Recycle Bin feature in the Windows Server® 2008 R2 operating system. 

    Active Directory Recycle Bin helps minimize directory service downtime by enhancing your ability to preserve and restore accidentally deleted Active Directory objects without restoring Active Directory data from backups, restarting Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), or rebooting domain controllers.

    When you enable Active Directory Recycle Bin, all link-valued and non-link-valued attributes of the deleted Active Directory objects are preserved and the objects are restored in their entirety to the same consistent logical state that they were in immediately before deletion. For example, restored user accounts automatically regain all group memberships and corresponding access rights that they had immediately before deletion, within and across domains.

    Active Directory Recycle Bin is functional for both AD DS and Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) environments.


    • By default, Active Directory Recycle Bin in Windows Server 2008 R2 is disabled. To enable it, you must first raise the forest functional level of your AD DS or AD LDS environment to Windows Server 2008 R2, which in turn requires all forest domain controllers or all servers that host instances of AD LDS configuration sets to be running Windows Server 2008 R2. After you set the forest functional level of your environment to Windows Server 2008 R2, you can use the instructions in this guide to enable Active Directory Recycle Bin.
    • In this release of Windows Server 2008 R2, the process of enabling Active Directory Recycle Bin is irreversible. After you enable Active Directory Recycle Bin in your environment, you cannot disable it. For more information, see Appendix A: Additional Active Directory Recycle Bin Tasks.

    In this guide

    Download the step-by-step guide from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd392261.aspx

  • Microsoft releases Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 RC and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 RC

    Microsoft made available the Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 RELEASE CANDIDATE for public. 2008_logo

    Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 RC is prerelease code offered to the public through our Customer Preview Program. Please see the Windows Server SP2/Windows Vista SP2 Customer Preview Program page on TechNet/MSDN for additional details, documentation, and forums.
    Windows Vista SP2 TechNet
    Windows Server 2008 SP2 TechNet

    Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 RC apply to people, organizations, and technical enthusiasts who are comfortable evaluating prerelease software. This prerelease software is provided for testing only. Installation of Service Pack 2 RC will result in Microsoft collecting information about the installation process, even if the installation is not completed. We do not recommend installing this software on primary or mission-critical systems. We recommend that you have a backup of your data before you install any prerelease software. windows-vista-logo-11

    SP2 is an update to Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista that addresses feedback from our customers and partners. By providing these fixes integrated into a single service pack, Microsoft provides a single high-quality update that minimizes deployment and testing complexity for customers. In addition to all previously released updates, SP2 will contain changes focused on addressing reliability and performance issues, supporting new kinds of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards. SP2 will also continue to make it easier for IT administrators to deploy and manage large installations of Windows Server 2008.

    Service Pack 1 is a prerequisite for installing Service Pack 2. Please make sure that your system is running Service Pack 1 before you install Service Pack 2. Windows Server 2008 SP2 Release Candidate and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Release Candidate - Five Language Standalone version can be installed on systems with any of the following language versions: English, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish.

    Standalone Service Pack 2 from the following locations as per your requirement.

    Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC and Windows Vista SP2 RC - Five Language Standalone (KB948465) – x86

    Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC and Windows Vista SP2 RC - Five Language Standalone (KB948465) – x64

    Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC and Windows Vista SP2 RC - Five Language Standalone (KB948465) – IA64

    Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC for x86/x64/ia64 and Windows Vista SP2 for x86/x64 DVD ISO

     If you want to download the Service Pack through Windows Update you can download from the following location

    Windows Server 2008 SP2 RC and Windows Vista SP2 RC - Windows Update Experience Kit

    This kit contains
    1) A Word document that has instructions and "things to know" before you install
    2) A command script that will set a registry key on your computer that will enable Windows Update to offer you the Service Pack. This installation option is available to computers that have any of the 36 supported Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista languages.

    Support for Windows Server 2008 SP2 Beta and Windows Vista SP2 Beta can be received by visiting the Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 TechNet forum.

  • Microsoft TechEd India 2009 !!!


    Yes, TechEd is back and happening between May 13 – 15.

    The venue is not yet confirmed since it is very much in early stages.

    TechEd team has created a twitter space http://www.twitter.com/techedindia2009.

    You can keep an eye on this twitter space for upcoming announcements from the team.


    Tech.Ed 2009 India is happening at Hyderabad.

    The site is up and running.

    For more information visit http://www.microsoft.com/india/teched2009


  • Engineering Windows 7 BLOG: Beta to RC Changes – Turning Windows Features On or Off

    As you must have seen Windows 7 is slowly reaching to RC Stage. As posted from Microsoft E7 blog; there is another change in the Windows 7. Turn Windows features on or off.


    We have more granular system settings. And these settings will help configure the entire system more easily. As you can see from the screenshot the ‘Windows Features’ found in the Control Panel –> Programs and Features is just getting advanced.

    We have now choice to turn on/off certain set of additional features such as…

  • Windows Media Player
  • Windows Media Center
  • Windows DVD Maker
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Windows Search
  • Handwriting Recognition (through the Tablet PC Components option)
  • Windows Gadget Platform
  • Fax and Scan
  • XPS Viewer and Services (including the Virtual Print Driver)

    Well, no matter what the as we move from beta to RC stage, there are lot of surprises available for the consumer. And these surprises making every bit of Windows much more robust and flexible for the end user providing sheer performance.

    To read more visit http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/03/06/beta-to-rc-changes-turning-windows-features-on-or-off.aspx

  • Windows Server 2008 R2: What’s New in Remote Desktop Services and Deploying RemoteApp and Desktop Connection Step-by-Step Guide - VDI

    What's New in Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2 Betawindows-server-2008-r2

    Brief Description

    This document describes changes in Remote Desktop Services (formerly Terminal Services) functionality that are available in this Beta release of Windows Server 2008 R2.


    This document describes changes in Remote Desktop Services (formerly Terminal Services) functionality that are available in this Beta release of Windows Server 2008 R2, including changes to the names of role services and management tools. Remote Desktop Services provides technologies that enable users to access session-based desktops, virtual machine-based desktops, or applications in the datacenter from within a corporate network or from the Internet.

    You can download it here


    Deploying RemoteApp and Desktop Connection Step-by-Step Guide

    Brief Description

    RemoteApp and Desktop Connection is a feature in Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta, which provides administrators the ability to group RemoteApp programs and virtual desktops and make them available to end users.


    In Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta, RemoteApp and Desktop Connection is a feature of Remote Desktop Services that provides administrators the ability to group RemoteApp programs and virtual desktops and make them available to end users on the Start menu of a computer that is running Windows® 7 Beta or by using a Web browser.

     You can download it here


    UPDATE: Thank you Vikram for notifying the typo error in the title.

    Happy Virtualization

  • Microsoft announced availability Internet Explorer 8 final today @ MIX 2009

    Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch, who leads the IE 8 development team, announced today the availability of Internet Explorer 8 during his keynote address at the company’s MIX09 conference going on in Las Vegas.IE 8 Logo

    Available for Download

    Internet Explorer 8 will be available for download at noon EDT in 25 languages, including Arabic, Chinese (Traditional, Simplified and Hong Kong), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. More information and a download of Internet Explorer 8 (as of noon EDT on March 19) can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/ie8.

    Download Internet Explorer 8 here

    Attention Windows 7 users.

    Internet Explorer 8 for Windows 7 Beta at this time

    Windows 7 Beta already includes a pre-release candidate version of Internet Explorer 8 that is optimized for that release. Windows 7 enables unique features and functionality in Internet Explorer 8 including Windows Touch and Jump Lists which require additional product tests to ensure we are providing the best Windows experience for our customers. We will continue to update the version of Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows 7 as the development cycles of Windows 7 progress and plan to include the final version of Internet Explorer 8 in the release candidate version of Windows 7 later this year. For the latest information on Windows 7 visit the Windows 7 site.

    Makes Common Online Tasks Faster and Easier

    In addition to offering improved security and privacy protections, Internet Explorer 8 is one of the fastest browsers on the market today, beating other top browsers in page load time on almost 50 percent of the 25 top comScore Inc. Web sites.* It also helps people save time while using the Web with easy-to-use new features, including the following:

    Accelerators. Accelerators make it faster and easier to perform common tasks online by making Web-based services such as ESPN.com, Live Search and Sina available for use directly from the page people are viewing. Users can simply right-click a word or phrase and instantly map, e-mail, or share it.

    Web Slices. Web Slices in Internet Explorer 8 makes favorite information from sites such as Digg, Yahoo! Mail, OneRiot, and eBay instantly available wherever someone goes on the Web.

    Visual search suggestions. The Instant Search Box in Internet Explorer 8 enables rich, real-time search from sites such as The New York Times, Amazon.com and Wikipedia, as well as sites from people’s own Favorites and History, complete with visuals and detailed information that saves time.

    Read More from Microsoft Press Pass coverage.

  • Microsoft Hardware Support for Windows 7 Beta

    On the other day, I was trying to connect LifeCam Camera on my T61p machine as I was getting ready for Live Meeting session. Upon plugging the USB Device, Windows 7 tried to install the drivers but unable to do so. I tried checking the driver but could not find any so I thought let’s try installing Windows Vista drives, which are digitally signed. Well, the drivers installed properly and my cam was ready to be used.

    After than I joined the Live Meeting, but the moment I enabled the video I got blue screen. I rebooted my system and tried to connect same Live Meeting session again but similarly after enabling the LifeCam Camera I got another blue screen. This time I was confident that it was the drivers, which were not compatible.article_Windows7_headerBeta

    Just after the reboot I visited Microsoft site for searching any better set of drivers. Upon searching I found this link: http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/windows7/support.mspx

    This link contains all the beta drivers for the Windows 7 beta. After downloading the drivers for the LifeCam, I uninstalled the old drivers and installed these newly downloaded drivers. Voila, after connecting Live Meeting Session and enabling video, it was working like a charm.

    There are some known issues about these beta drivers, which will be fixed over the time of development but so far for the beta release of the OS, we have some compatible drivers available. The drivers available for both the 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7.

















    Brief screenshot from the website

  • Windows 7 IT Pro Guides


    These documents include:

    1) A What's New in Windows 7 Guide, covering many new and changed Windows 7 features of interest to IT professionals, including DirectAccess, BranchCache and other networking technologies, VHD boot and other deployment technologies, and AppLocker, Biometrics, and other security technologies, and

    2) A Windows 7 Manageability Overview Guide, covering the manageability improvements that can reduce total cost of ownership by helping to increase automation, improve user productivity, and provide flexible administrative control to meet compliance requirements.management technologies.

    Download here

  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 Beta: Available via Microsoft Connect

    The beta software is now available for download on Microsoft Connect. To download, simply go to our site on Connect and sign in with your Live Id. SCVMM 2008 R2

    Call to action:

    What is VMM 2008 R2 Beta and what are its new capabilities?
    VMM 2008 R2 Beta is a comprehensive management solution for virtualized infrastructure that takes advantage of many of the great new features of Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta including:

    • Live Migration: Enables the movement of running virtual machines from one virtual host to another with no downtime.
    • Clustered Shared Volumes: Helps enable Live Migration and eliminates the previous one LUN per virtual machine requirement thus simplifying SAN administration.
    • Hot addition/removal of storage: Allows the addition and removal of new virtual hard disks (VHDs) and iSCSI pass-through disks running on virtual infrastructure.
    • Networking optimizations: two new technologies -- Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) and Chimney - provide increased network throughput while reducing CPU load.

    Note: If you are unable to access the download location using the given link. Use the following link, fill up the nomination survey form and the you will be able to access the downloads.


    For more information visit: System Center Virtual Machine Manager TechCenter

    Happy Virtualization